How to Become an Electrician in Arkansas
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has determined that job growth for electricians in Arkansas is high. The expected growth rate between 2014 and 2024 is 16 percent, which is much faster than job growth on average. This means that a career as an electrician is a smart choice for employment opportunities and job security. If you are thinking of becoming an electrician in Arkansas, make sure you understand what the educational, training and licensing requirements are. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Arkansas
The department that licenses electricians in the state is the Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners. The Board licenses electricians in the following categories:
- Journeyman electrician
- Master electrician
- Residential journeyman electrician
- Residential master electrician
- Air conditioning electrician
- Industrial maintenance electrician
- Electrical apprentice
The first step in becoming an electrician in the state is to complete a training program. This may be a vocational or career school program that provides coursework and hands-on work experience. Many technical and community colleges offer such programs. It may also be an apprenticeship that provides the classroom learning and technical instruction of electrician trade schools with a hands-on field experience. You may also choose to find electrician schools in Arkansas that provide online or classroom instruction in the technical aspects of the job, such as gaining an introduction to the National Electrical Code, and then seek out an apprenticeship. These schools usually offer career diplomas.
The next step is to become licensed as a journeyman electrician. An approved apprenticeship program provides all the necessary hours for this licensing. To become a journeyman without having completed an apprenticeship you must have eight years or 16,000 hours of field experience working in the electrical construction. In Arkansas you are required to take the journeyman electrician exam.
To become a master electrician requires six years of work experience in construction. This must include two years working as a licensed journeyman. Alternatively, you can become a master electrician in Arkansas if you have a degree in electrical engineering and two years of work experience. Those that gain their master electrician license may also choose to become licensed as Independent Electrical Contractors. This requires being a master electrician for at least five years. Each type of licensing also requires that you pass an exam, so receiving continuing education and technical instruction is important.
Once licensed as a master electrician in Arkansas, you can apply to become a licensed electrical contractor with the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board. You can search for Arkansas licensed contractors here.
Beyond this, with five years of experience as a master electrician (or employing someone with this qualification), and passing the Arkansas Business and Law exam, you can also apply to become a licensed commercial contractor, allowing you to work on residential properties and projects of larger value.
In the state of Arkansas, all Master Electricians, Journeyman Electricians, Residential Master Electricians and Residential Journeyman Electricians must obtain 8 hours of continuing education (CE) every code cycle before license renewal. All hours must cover the current National Electrical Code (NEC).
Electrician Apprenticeship Programs in Arkansas
Electrician schools offer one route to becoming an electrician in Arkansas, but perhaps the best way to start your career is through an approved apprenticeship program, as this will provide you with all the requirements necessary to become a journeyman. There are both union and non-union programs available and all are four-year programs that include coursework and hands-on job experience and training with a master electrician. Union programs are affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and include:
- El Dorado Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, El Dorado
- Jonesboro Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, Jonesboro
- Fort Smith Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, Fort Smith
- Little Rock Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, Little Rock
In order to be accepted into one of these programs you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, have a high school transcript or GED certificate, have passed one course in algebra, pass a drug test and pass an aptitude test.
The non-union Mid-South Chapter of Independent Electrical Contractors also offers an apprenticeship program that includes 144 hours of classroom learning and 8,000 hours on-the-job training. The requirements for being accepted are similar to those for the union programs.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
If you choose to work toward becoming an electrician in Arkansas you can expect to have a lot of opportunities for jobs. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records that in 2018 there were 6,220 electricians working in the state and that there will be nearly 6,970 by 2028. This should mean the opening of 840 electrician jobs in Arkansas each year.
Salaries for electricians in the state are commensurate with the extensive training required to become licensed. The average annual salary in 2019 was $45,550. Top earners, those who have a master’s license and more years of job experience, can earn $63,150 and more.
Salaries in Arkansas by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment||230||$24.61||$51,190||$28,210||$35,680||$67,520||$78,110|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||530||$27.62||$57,450||$36,330||$43,300||$65,590||$81,260|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||240||$35.21||$73,240||$56,860||$65,900||$80,800||$93,580|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||2,140||$31.45||$65,420||$37,160||$51,960||$78,810||$92,630|
Electrician Salaries in Arkansas by Region
|Area||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK||280||$21.53||$44,790||$13.35||$15.30||$26.95||$29.86|
|Hot Springs, AR||220||$17.60||$36,610||$12.62||$15.03||$20.71||$23.57|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||1,780||$20.35||$42,320||$12.21||$15.06||$24.31||$29.17|
|Pine Bluff, AR||130||$29.09||$60,500||$19.33||$24.10||$34.77||$37.04|
Working as an Electrician in Arkansas
As career opportunities for qualified and licensed electricians in Arkansas continue to grow, now is a great time to get into the industry. Many electricians work either for themselves as independent contractors or for the owners of electrical contracting businesses, but those just starting out as journeymen or master electricians without a contracting license tend to work for those contracting businesses. They may also work for construction companies, developers or government agencies working in residential or commercial buildings.
Choosing a career as an electrician in Arkansas is a smart move if you are ready to have a hands-on job that is different every day and that will give you a great income and job security. Not just anyone can do this job, though, and you have to be willing to put in the hours to learn and train how to be an electrician.
Organizations you should know
- Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Arkansas Chapter
- IBEW District 10 Arkansas
- IBEW Local 295 Little Rock
- IBEW Local 700 Jonesboro
- Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Midsouth Chapter
Electrician Schools in Arkansas
- Central Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area
- East Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area
- Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR
- South Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area
1000 Iowa Street, Beebe, Arkansas 72012-1000
Electrical Apprenticeship – Certificate Program
Arkansas State University offers various Certificate program options for future opticians. Classes are taken at their Beebe campus in the town of Beebe, Arkansas. The college has round 3,935 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally about $3,570 and for students from other states approximately $5,730 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,300, although this will depend on the program.
2005 White Drive, Batesville, Arkansas 72503-3350
Industrial Technology – Associate Program
The Industrial Technology Associate’s degree program in Industrial Technology at University of Arkansas Community College is offered at their Batesville campus in the town of Batesville. The college has round 1,387 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The University of Arkansas Community College-Batesville has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is roughly in the order of $2,466 and are $2,790 and $4,218 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,400, depending on the program.
5210 Grand Ave, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913-3649
Electronics Technology – Associate Program
The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith’s Associate program is taught at their Fort Smith campus in the city of Fort Smith. It is the only university electrician program in northwest arkansas. This is a full, 4-year public college with 6,720 students, of which 100% are undergraduates. The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $5,577 and for students from other states likely to be about $12,650 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $1,605, although this will depend on the program.
3000 W Scenic Dr, North Little Rock, Arkansas 72118-3347
Electrical Systems – Certificate Program, Construction Management – Electrical – Associate Program
Pulaski Technical College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of North Little Rock, Arkansas. The majority of of the school’s 7,641 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is around $5,170 and for out-of-state students around $6,340 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $800, depending on the program chosen.
One College Circle, Malvern, Arkansas 72104-0816
(501) 337-5000 x1100
Electrical Apprenticeship – Certificate Program
College of the Ouachitas’s Certificate-level Electrical Apprenticeship program is based at their campus in the town of Malvern, AR. This public college has approximately 1,346 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is in the order of $3,680 and for students from outside the state around $6,530 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,200, although this will vary with the program.
* College accredition status and tuition fees and are, to our best knowledge, correct at the time of writing, and sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Check all details directly with college before applying.
What are the requirements for an Arkansas electrical license?
- 1. Complete an electrician training program and/or begin an electrician apprenticeship program
- 2. Gain the job experience necessary for a journeyman electrician license (8,000 hours in apprenticeship)
- 3. Take the journeyman exam
- 4. After 6 years in the construction industry (2 years as a journeyman) or an electrical engineering degree plus 2 years of construction experience, you can apply for a master electrician license.
- 5. Take the master electrician exam.
How much do electricians earn in the state of Arkansas?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Arkansas made an average of $44,180 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $26,240 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $63,150.